Groton Utilities Assists Avalonia Land Conservancy with Land Purchase

Members of the GU Commission and Groton Utilities presenting the Avalonia Land Conservancy with donation check.

This morning Groton Utilities and the Avalonia Land Conservancy celebrated the formalization of their partnership with a check presentation. Groton Utilities has agreed to donate $159,945 to the non-profit, tax exempt organization for the purpose of assisting in the purchase of land important to the region’s water quality.

Groton Utilities is happy to assist the Avalonia Land Conservancy in the purchase of land that will help protect the Groton Utilities watershed. The Avalonia Land Conservancy is currently finalizing the purchase of two properties on Long Cove Road in Ledyard with the intent to preserve them for recreational opportunities and watershed protection.

This property, known as the Atkinson and Dirlam properties, was of concern to Groton Utilities as it is adjacent to the Morgan Pond Reservoir and its purchase will protect the Great Brook Watershed. Having Avalonia manage the property will help insure that water running into the reservoir is as clean as possible. Tributaries and streams are highly effective natural filtration systems and being able to control access and activities in those areas helps ensure the purity of the water running into reservoirs.

“This partnership with Avalonia will help us to protect the regions water supply while sharing the land with the community,” said Groton Utilities Director Ron Gaudet, ”The Avalonia Land Conservancy will protect the land while educating the public on the importance of the preserving the watershed.”

Morgan Pond Reservoir

The Groton City Council voted earlier in the month to approve a contribution of up to $159,945 from Groton Utilities to the Avalonia Land Conservancy for the purchase. The total cost of the purchase is $1,101,925, so while the contribution is significant, there were many participants, including the Town of Ledyard, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, the Fields Pond Foundation, and many others. The purchase is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year barring no unexpected obstacles.

Groton Utilities has had an interest in protecting this property for the last 30 years, but just now had a true opportunity through this partnership. Once the purchase is complete, the area will be accessible to the public for passive recreation, with the exception of specific areas.

“Water is our most important natural resource, and Groton Utilities believes that all efforts should be made to protect its purity to ensure clean and safe drinking water for its customers,” Groton Utilities Manager of Communications Daniel Bouges said. “This is an economical way to protect the watershed with a one-time donation, while Avalonia maintains the area going forward. Both Avalonia Land Conservatory and Groton Utilities have a mutual interest in protecting the environment and water resources, so this donation works for everyone.”

Avalonia is a non-profit land trust, founded in 1968 with the mission of preserving natural habitats in southeastern Connecticut by acquiring lands and communicating the values of these irreplaceable resources. Avalonia believes that the conservation of natural resources for the benefit of people and wildlife is essential and will ensure healthy and livable communities for generations to come.

The Avalonia preserves are open to the public and have many trails available for hiking. To learn more about the Avalonia Land Conservancy visit their website or visit one of their many hiking trails.

 

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